It’s a long shot, but the Detroit Pistons could be your 2018 NBA Champions. Why so? No reason other than the fact that the last time they moved to a new stadium, their first season there resulted in a title. After moving from the Pontiac Silverdome to the Palace of Auburn Hills in 1988, the Pistons repeated as NBA champs in 1989 and 1990.
Nearly 30 years later and the team is on the move once again, this time heading downtown to take residency at the new Little Caesars Arena.
But as basketball moves from the suburbs to downtown, longtime DJ Ken Calvert, who served as the Pistons public address announcer for sixteen seasons, reflects on the Pistons’ first year at The Palace and those legendary ‘Bad Boy’ teams.
The Palace “changed everything,” Calvert says, and it had “all the buzzers and bells…the newest of the new.” At the time of its opening, the Palace was widely considered to be one of the premiere sporting venues in the entire world, which makes it even “harder to imagine they’re gonna close the thing,” Calvert reminisces.
As for the team that played inside the Palace its inaugural year? The 1988-89’ Pistons went 63-19 and swept the Los Angeles Lakers in four games to win the title. “An incredible feat,” the former announcer says. It was also a season in which Calvert viewed in its entirety from courtside, rubbing elbows with the likes of Magic Johnson and Michael Jordan. “Things a little cold in Chicago?” Calvert would ask Jordan, which would get a laugh and a resounding yes from the six-time NBA champion.
Now what about that 2018 title? It’s highly unlikely, but there’s always the slight chance that history repeats itself. Without Isiah Thomas and Joe Dumars taking the floor and the Warriors and Cavaliers standing in their way, the odds are certainly stacked against Detroit.
Little Caesars Arena is slated to open in September.